Blackwater USA well suported

Reports that State Department investigators offered immunity deals to Blackwater security guards accused of shooting dead 17 Iraqis dealt an embarrassing blow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday.

Meanwhile the Pentagon is offering huge bonuses to hold onto its top warriors: The Pentagon's Special Operations Command is paying reenlistment bonuses of up to $150,000 to Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs to keep them from fleeing the military to take high-paying jobs with private security contractors such as Blackwater USA.

Armed security professionals working in Iraq and Afghanistan for firms such as Blackwater can earn as much as $500 a day -- $130,000 a year.

Doug Brooks, president of the industry group International Peace Operations Association, tells the AP that the typical 19-year uniformed veteran receives about $63,000 a year.

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